High bids force city to scale back parking ramps

Bids that came in more than twice as high as anticipated likely will lead to construction of somewhat smaller parking structures downtown.

The Minot City Council’s Finance and Improvements Committee voted Tuesday to reject the bids on two parking structures, even while expressing reluctance that the project will have to be downsized.

Cindy Hemphill, city finance director, said the developer would like to reduce each of the two structures by 37 parking spaces, leaving 212 spaces in each for use by businesses, the public and residents of housing to be constructed around the parking.

“I would be totally against reducing the number. If anything, see if they can add a few more,” council member Larry Frey said. He objected to rebidding for smaller structures.

“I don’t believe we would get within the budget at all without some kind of design change. I don’t know that it would be beneficial to any of us to go through the effort of rebidding it,” Hemphill responded.

David Waind, city manager, said the smaller parking structures still offer more parking than exists now.

The ramps are to be built on two existing lots that now have 267 spaces. Together, the redesigned structures would have 424 spaces.

However, in addition to the construction of downtown housing associated with the Imagine Minot project, the construction of Artspace on a former parking lot is expected to increase demand for space in the parking structures.

Bids opened on June 17 came to $9.4 million for the Renaissance Parking Structure at the corner of Second Avenue and First Street Northwest and nearly $9.75 million for the Central Parking Structure at Central Avenue and First Street Southwest. The engineer’s estimate was $4.5 million per structure.

If the council rejects the bids Monday, the city plans to begin advertising for new bids within a few days. The project’s funding sources include Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery dollars that are being contributed in exchange for more affordable rents on 20 percent of the associated new housing.